Timeline of lighting technology

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Lighting through the ages (legend) Eclairage.jpg
Lighting through the ages (legend)
The price of lighting through the ages The-price-for-lighting-per-million-lumen-hours-in-the-uk-in-british-pound.svg
The price of lighting through the ages
Phase-out of incandescent light bulbsLED filamentLight-emitting diodeSulfur lampOrganic light-emitting diodeCompact fluorescent lampSodium-vapor lamp#High-pressure sodiumLight-emitting diodeHalogen light bulbLight-emitting diodeSodium-vapor lampIncandescent light bulb#Revolution of the tungsten filament, inert gas, and the coiled coilIncandescent light bulb#Revolution of the tungsten filament, inert gas, and the coiled coilNeon lightingTungsten filamentMercury-vapor lampGas-discharge lampGas mantleIncandescent light bulb#Dominance of carbon filament and vacuumElectric light bulbFluorescent lampGeissler tubeArc lampGas lightingArgand lampTimeline of lighting technology

Artificial lighting technology began to be developed tens of thousands of years ago and continues to be refined in the present day.



18th century

19th century

20th century

21st century

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Electric light</span> Device for producing light from electricity

An electric light, lamp, or light bulb is an electrical component that produces light. It is the most common form of artificial lighting. Lamps usually have a base made of ceramic, metal, glass, or plastic, which secures the lamp in the socket of a light fixture, which is often called a "lamp" as well. The electrical connection to the socket may be made with a screw-thread base, two metal pins, two metal caps or a bayonet mount.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Incandescent light bulb</span> Electric light bulb with a resistively heated wire filament

An incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is an electric light with a wire filament that is heated until it glows. The filament is enclosed in a glass bulb that is filled with vacuum or inert gas to protect the filament from oxidation. Current is supplied to the filament by terminals or wires embedded in the glass. A bulb socket provides mechanical support and electrical connections.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Halogen lamp</span> Incandescent lamp variety

A halogen lamp is an incandescent lamp consisting of a tungsten filament sealed in a compact transparent envelope that is filled with a mixture of an inert gas and a small amount of a halogen, such as iodine or bromine. The combination of the halogen gas and the tungsten filament produces a halogen-cycle chemical reaction, which redeposits evaporated tungsten on the filament, increasing its life and maintaining the clarity of the envelope. This allows the filament to operate at a higher temperature than a standard incandescent lamp of similar power and operating life; this also produces light with higher luminous efficacy and color temperature. The small size of halogen lamps permits their use in compact optical systems for projectors and illumination. The small glass envelope may be enclosed in a much larger outer glass bulb, which has a lower temperature, protects the inner bulb from contamination, and makes the bulb mechanically more similar to a conventional lamp.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arc lamp</span> Lamp that produces light by an electric arc

An arc lamp or arc light is a lamp that produces light by an electric arc.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fluorescent lamp</span> Lamp using fluorescence to produce light

A fluorescent lamp, or fluorescent tube, is a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses fluorescence to produce visible light. An electric current in the gas excites mercury vapor, which produces short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor coating on the inside of the lamp to glow. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical energy into useful light much more efficiently than an incandescent lamp. The typical luminous efficacy of fluorescent lighting systems is 50–100 lumens per watt, several times the efficacy of incandescent bulbs with comparable light output. For comparison, the luminous efficacy of an incandescent bulb may only be 16 lumens per watt.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sodium-vapor lamp</span> Type of electric gas-discharge lamp

A sodium-vapor lamp is a gas-discharge lamp that uses sodium in an excited state to produce light at a characteristic wavelength near 589 nm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Daniel McFarlan Moore</span>

Daniel McFarlan Moore was a U.S. electrical engineer and inventor. He developed a novel light source, the "Moore lamp", and a business that produced them in the early 1900s. The Moore lamp was the first commercially viable light-source based on gas discharges instead of incandescence; it was the predecessor to contemporary neon lighting and fluorescent lighting. In his later career Moore developed a miniature neon lamp that was extensively used in electronic displays, as well as vacuum tubes that were used in early television systems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edmund Germer</span> German inventor (1901-1987)

Edmund Germer was a German inventor, recognized as the father of the fluorescent lamp. His father was an accountant. He obtained a doctorate from the University of Berlin in lighting technology.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Geissler tube</span> Early gas-discharge lamp

A Geissler tube is an early gas discharge tube used to demonstrate the principles of electrical glow discharge, similar to modern neon lighting. The tube was invented by the German physicist and glassblower Heinrich Geissler in 1857. It consists of a sealed, partially evacuated glass cylinder of various shapes with a metal electrode at each end, containing rarefied gasses such as neon, argon, or air; mercury vapor or other conductive fluids; or ionizable minerals or metals, such as sodium. When a high voltage is applied between the electrodes, an electric current flows through the tube. The current dissociates electrons from the gas molecules, creating ions, and when the electrons recombine with the ions, the gas emits light by fluorescence. The color of light emitted is characteristic of the material within the tube, and many different colors and lighting effects can be achieved. The first gas-discharge lamps, Geissler tubes were novelty items, made in many artistic shapes and colors to demonstrate the new science of electricity. In the early 20th century, the technology was commercialized and evolved into neon lighting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mercury-vapor lamp</span> Light source using an electric arc through mercury vapor

A mercury-vapor lamp is a gas-discharge lamp that uses an electric arc through vaporized mercury to produce light. The arc discharge is generally confined to a small fused quartz arc tube mounted within a larger soda lime or borosilicate glass bulb. The outer bulb may be clear or coated with a phosphor; in either case, the outer bulb provides thermal insulation, protection from the ultraviolet radiation the light produces, and a convenient mounting for the fused quartz arc tube.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of street lighting in the United States</span> History of street lights

The history of street lighting in the United States is closely linked to the urbanization of America. Artificial illumination has stimulated commercial activity at night, and has been tied to the country's economic development, including major innovations in transportation, particularly the growth in automobile use. In the two and a half centuries before LED lighting emerged as the new "gold standard", cities and towns across America relied on oil, coal gas, carbon arc, incandescent, and high-intensity gas discharge lamps for street lighting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metal-halide lamp</span> Type of lamp

A metal-halide lamp is an electrical lamp that produces light by an electric arc through a gaseous mixture of vaporized mercury and metal halides. It is a type of high-intensity discharge (HID) gas discharge lamp. Developed in the 1960s, they are similar to mercury vapor lamps, but contain additional metal halide compounds in the quartz arc tube, which improve the efficiency and color rendition of the light. The most common metal halide compound used is sodium iodide. Once the arc tube reaches its running temperature, the sodium dissociates from the iodine, adding orange and reds to the lamp's spectrum from the sodium D line as the metal ionizes. As a result, metal-halide lamps have high luminous efficacy of around 75–100 lumens per watt, which is about twice that of mercury vapor lights and 3 to 5 times that of incandescent lights and produce an intense white light. Lamp life is 6,000 to 15,000 hours. As one of the most efficient sources of high CRI white light, metal halides as of 2005 were the fastest growing segment of the lighting industry. They are used for wide area overhead lighting of commercial, industrial, and public places, such as parking lots, sports arenas, factories, and retail stores, as well as residential security lighting, automotive headlamps and indoor cannabis grow operations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Induction lamp</span> Gas-discharge lamp in which an electric or magnetic field transfers energy to the gas inside.

The induction lamp, electrodeless lamp, or electrodeless induction lamp is a gas-discharge lamp in which an electric or magnetic field transfers the power required to generate light from outside the lamp envelope to the gas inside. This is in contrast to a typical gas discharge lamp that uses internal electrodes connected to the power supply by conductors that pass through the lamp envelope. Eliminating the internal electrodes provides two advantages:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gas-discharge lamp</span> Artificial light sources powered by ionized gas electric discharge

Gas-discharge lamps are a family of artificial light sources that generate light by sending an electric discharge through an ionized gas, a plasma.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Light fixture</span> Electrical device with an electric lamp

A light fixture, light fitting, or luminaire is an electrical device containing an electric lamp that provides illumination. All light fixtures have a fixture body and one or more lamps. The lamps may be in sockets for easy replacement—or, in the case of some LED fixtures, hard-wired in place.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Solid-state lighting</span> Lighting technology

Solid-state lighting (SSL) is a type of lighting that uses semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), or polymer light-emitting diodes (PLED) as sources of illumination rather than electrical filaments, plasma, or gas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LED lamp</span> Electric light that produces light using LEDs

An LED lamp or LED light is an electric light that produces light using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LED lamps are significantly more energy-efficient than equivalent incandescent lamps and can be significantly more than most fluorescent lamps. The most efficient commercially available LED lamps have efficiencies exceeding 200 lumens per watt (lm/W) and convert more than half the input power into light. Commercial LED lamps have a lifespan several times longer than both incandescent and fluorescent lamps.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edison light bulb</span> Type of lightbulb

Edison light bulbs, also known as filament light bulbs and retroactively referred to as antique light bulbs or vintage light bulbs, are either carbon- or early tungsten-filament incandescent light bulbs, or modern bulbs that reproduce their appearance. Most of the bulbs in circulation are reproductions of the wound filament bulbs made popular by Edison Electric Light Company at the turn of the 20th century. They are easily identified by the long and complicated windings of their internal filaments, and by the very warm-yellow glow of the light they produce.

The Electro-Dynamic Light Company of New York was a lighting and electrical distribution company organized in 1878. The company held the patents for the first practical incandescent electric lamp and electrical distribution system of incandescent electric lighting. They also held a patent for an electric meter to measure the amount of electricity used. The inventions were those of Albon Man and William E. Sawyer. They gave the patent rights to the company, which they had formed with a group of businessmen. It was the first company in the world formally established to provided electric lighting and was the first company organized specifically to manufacture and sell incandescent electric light bulbs.


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